The basics
THE UK: Once you arrive

London: Walking the city


I have lived in London for four years already and I still cannot believe how much part of this city I feel now. The days in which getting lost, taking the wrong bus and trying to keep up with the myriad of names of streets and places are long gone. Part of the reason why I have got to know this city so well is that I love walking. I walk everywhere I can or take the bus so I can look out and draw a detailed picture of the city I live in.

Many people have affirmed that walkers are the writers of the city. Their walking makes of streets, parks and places live beings, ready to tell an unknown story. After a while, you go from being just a visitor to develop a real feeling of belonging. It all comes from knowing your surroundings and making them part of your personal story. I have experienced what walking can bring to your life so I have come up with a list of my favourite walks in London:

  • Spitalfields market and Brick Lane: The oldest market in London is a great destination for a Sunday afternoon. You can walk around accompanied by the sound of reggae beats and delicious food from wherever. Beyond the market is Brick Lane, a road that truly represents what this city is about: cultural mixture. A parade of curry restaurants followed by several cool bars, indie shops and a flee market complement your options.
  • Crypt in Saint-Martin-in-the-fields: After a busy day in the Trafalgar Square area visiting the traditional galleries and museums, it is worth finding a place of quiet and peace in this glamorous crypt right underneath Saint-Martin-in-the-fields church. You can enjoy of either classic music at lunchtime or jazz nights, although you will need to purchase tickets.
  • Monument and Temple area: One of London’s most attractive features is its historical continuity. Walk from Embankment on the riverside towards Monument and you will be immersing yourself in medieval times. Take your time to explore the narrow alleyways nearby Temple church, one of the most ancient landmarks of London, known from the Crusaders times around the 12th century.
  • River walk on the Southbank: This is one of my favourite ones. If you go from Waterloo towards London Bridge all along the riverside, you will be surprised by the amount of variety you will find. The Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Hayward gallery offer a wide selection of activities all year around, but predominately in summertime. Underneath Waterloo Bridge there is a little second-hand book market, followed by the known Gabriel’s Wharf with cool shops to visit. Other features of the walk are the Tate Modern and the Shakespeare’s Globe, whose season goes from April to October every year.
  • Greenwich area and underneath the river: Located on the south-east of London, this gem is worth the trip. This charming neighbourhood is known for its traders’ market, its spacious green royal park and the Maritime Museum. Heading towards the river you will find a tunnel that takes you to the other side! Knowing that you have the River Thames above you is indeed a very thrilling experience.
  • Jack the Ripper tour: As you walk in the footsteps of Jack the Ripper himself, you will gain an insight in to the east areas of London during the late 1800s. The labyrinth-like layout of its streets and passageways enable you to discover the mysterious soul of this city whilst having a gripping night. Booking should be made in advance.

These walks are just example of all what is there waiting to be discovered. Websites such as Timeout London offer a huge selection of activities all year round. For a more independent point of view you can check websites like ‘I know this great little place in London’. Also I recommend Robert Elms’ radio programme on BBC Radio London Mon-Fri 12 to 3pm for interesting information about London from architecture to music and events. You will learn so much that, after a while, you will feel like a local.




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About Author

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Aspiring journalist and Cambridge University graduate, Londoner 'by adoption'. Tweeting for @hotcourses_Abrd